Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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Tuesday June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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State of CaliforniaCandidate for Governor

Photo of Amanda Renteria

Amanda Renteria

COO, Justice Department
93,376 votes (1.3%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Changing the culture of politics - Getting money out of politics, prohibiting elected officials from running a business while in office, and addressing sexual misconduct in Sacramento
  • Housing - Declare a state of emergency around homelessness, pass the housing bond, and work with cities and localities to get federal funding and state assistance
  • Schools not prisons - Funding our education system and getting money our of private prisons



Profession:COO, Justice Department
Chief of Operations, California Department of Justice — Appointed position (2017–2018)
National Political Director, Hillary for America (2015–2016)
Candidate - CA Congressional District 21, Self (2013–2014)
Chief of Staff/Legislative Director/Economic Policy Adviser, U.S. Senate (2005–2013)


Harvard University Master of business administration, Business (2003)
Stanford University Bachelor of arts, Economics; Political Science (1997)


Government works best when inspiring public servants do the people’s business with humility, enthusiasm, and skill. From Washington to Sacramento, we run into problems when politicians are allowed to buy their way into office and use their power for personal benefit. In order to run for office, I recently stepped down from the senior team at the California Department of Justice. As the DOJ’s Chief of Operations, I led a team of 1,000 dedicated public servants and managed an $850 million budget. The DOJ has locked up human traffickers, cracked down on polluters, protected immigrants’ rights, fought for women’s healthcare, shielded seniors from Medi-Cal fraud, and secured millions in student refunds from shady for-profit colleges. Prior to the DOJ, I was a math teacher in the Central Valley, a budget analyst for the City of San Jose, an economic policy adviser to Senator Feinstein, the first Latina Chief of Staff in US Senate history, and the National Political Director for a Presidential campaign. This gives me the deepest policy experience in the race, but mostly it shows that I’ve treated public service as a lifelong calling. Californians take pride in being on the frontiers of change in America. That’s why we can’t sit back any longer. We need fresh faces and new ideas this year. It’s time to shake things up. Learn more about our movement at

Questions & Answers

Questions from KQED and League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (5)

There is a shortage of affordable housing in California. How would you approach addressing California’s housing crisis? Please include specific proposals.
Answer from Amanda Renteria:

Housing is one of the greatest challenges facing our state, and we must have every tool on the table. Having lived in all parts of our state, I also understand that there isn't any one-size-fits-all solution, as what works for San Francisco, won't be what works for the Central Valley, which won't be what works for L.A.

As governor I would also:

- Declare homelessness a State of Emergency in our hardest-hit cities in order to unlock new tools for immediately addressing homelessness

- Appoint a Housing Specialist that directly reports to the governor to establish a long-term housing plan - Expand tax credits and housing assistance for low-income and middle-class families

- Partner with cities and counties to solicit federal funds for housing development

California has some of the richest people in the country and some of the poorest. What would you do to reduce income inequality in California?
Answer from Amanda Renteria:

While there are many policies that California should enact to reduce the dangerous levels of income inequality and poverty, my top three priorities would be to:

  1. Declare a State of Emergency on Homelessness and call for City Housing Plans across the state. We need every possible tool to combat the growing number of families on our streets. I will work with mayors, city councils, and housing experts on combating homelessness in the short term and creating long-term planning for a sustainable solution going forward.


  1. Adopt single-payer, universal health coverage for every Californian. Our state should pave the way for single-payer, universal health coverage nationwide, ensuring that every Californian has coverage, driving down health care costs to levels comparable to every other advanced country in the world, and dramatically improving health outcomes.

  1. Enact into state law President Obama’s overtime wage protections that have been undermined under Trump. Until President Obama’s update to the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime wage protections, workers lost ground for decades as fewer and fewer were covered by overtime rules. California should put in place the Obama overtime regulations that President Trump has undermined and ensure the salary and compensation levels are updated automatically in order to maintain their value over time.  

Currently there isn't enough money in the state retirement system to pay for all the benefits promised to government workers. What would you do as Governor to address the state’s unfunded pension liability?
Answer from Amanda Renteria:

Public sector workers deserve a secure pension that rewards their selfless public service. For too long, however, politicians have not made the contributions that they were required to in order to fully fund public retirement systems. It is critical that the state and local governments make their annual required contributions to pension funds so that the percentage of unfunded liabilities does not increase further. To ensure that state and local governments are contributing enough, I will work to review the assumed rate of return on pension assets to ensure that current expectations are realistic.


For the private sector, we need to ensure a strong implementation of CalSavers. Particularly, we need to ensure that California uses its huge negotiating power to lower fees down to levels comparable to the federal Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Investment options should also be very simple, with target-date funds with the most appropriate mix of assets based on expected retirement dates.

How would you describe your feelings about charter schools? Are you in favor of any changes in the way the state governs charter schools?
Answer from Amanda Renteria:

It is critical that we hold charter schools accountable. I support requiring charter schools to protect against conflicts of interest and ensure good governance requirements. That includes increased fiscal monitoring of charter schools.

California and the federal government have disagreed about enforcement of immigration laws. Do you support California’s current ‘Sanctuary State’ law? If not, why not? Are there additional strategies that you would pursue as Governor?
Answer from Amanda Renteria:

I strongly support the package of bills recently enacted into law, including the Support Immigrant Worker Protection Act. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration is now waging an all-out attack against California’s efforts to protect its residents. As Governor, I would vigorously defend the State both in court and in the public. I would also continue to ensure that no state resources are used to help the federal government enforce unjust immigration laws. As the former Chief of Operations at California’s Justice Department, I know the importance of working with the Attorney General to ensure the Department has the resources it needs going forward.


I also strongly believe that every individual and family in California who are threatened by the enforcement of unjust immigration laws have access to immigration attorneys who will defend their rights. My administration will also increase social service supports to immigrants who face unprecedented threats from federal authorities. For example, the constant fear of deportation and the splitting up of families is damaging the health and well-being of immigrant communities. It is particularly urgent that we help children with the daily trauma that they are experiencing. Finally, California must continue to educate immigrants and their allies of their rights to resist federal immigration authorities.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $112,471

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Employees of Phibro Animal Health Corporation
Employees of Crowdpac
Friends of Renteria
Employees of Cane Investments, LLC
Employees of Collegium Pharmacetical, Inc.
Employees of Disney

More information about contributions

By State:

California 40.82%
New Jersey 27.09%
Washington 16.72%
New York 4.88%
Other 10.49%

By Size:

Large contributions (97.48%)
Small contributions (2.52%)

By Type:

From organizations (14.45%)
From individuals (85.55%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Californians have always taken pride in being on the frontiers of change, but the 2018 campaign cycle is shaping up to be truly unprecedented. From Virginia to Oklahoma, we’ve already seen a stunning wave of new energy sweep away longstanding patterns of electoral outcomes. Women, minorities, and young people are newly empowered and hungering for fresh faces. They’re demanding a new generation of more ethical leaders, and they won’t settle for anything less.

Amanda is the right candidate at the right time. Over nearly two decades, she has treated public service as a lifelong calling. She has proven that she is a dedicated public servant who is sincerely motivated to help others. Without exception, she has been a role model and inspiration to others.

From economics, to healthcare, to agriculture, she also has the broadest and deepest policy expertise of any candidate in the race. Crafting and negotiating effective policy for the world’s sixth largest economy is technically complex and involves diverse stakeholders. Californians will prefer a serious policymaker who has succeeded at the national level.

Meanwhile, campaigning has fundamentally changed in the last few years, primarily due to the rise of social media. While a candidate still needs resources to compete, the time and expense needed to win can be drastically lower for a candidate who understands and embraces the new reality. The new approach to campaigning is especially well suited to the newly empowered voting populations that are most naturally attracted to the Renteria campaign. 

As Governor, Amanda Renteria will make politics about people again, and inspire a new generation.

Videos (2)

— May 1, 2018 Renteria for Governor

I believe that every Californian has a right to:

  • Elected leaders who work only for the people
  • Safety in our homes, workplaces, and communities (including freedom from harassment and discrimination)
  • Clean air and water, no matter where we live
  • Safe and affordable housing
  • Quality, affordable health care
  • An education that prepares every child for the 21st century economy


— May 1, 2018 Renteria for Governor

Amanda's background including her time as Chief of Operations for the CA Department of Justice and Chief of Staff in the United States Senate.

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